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Books About Residential Schools

Created by 49th Teachers
  • Age: 3 to 18
  • Grade: p to 12
tagged: Social Justice, Diversity & Inclusion, Indigenous
Listen and learn about the history and ongoing impact of Residential Schools with this selection of books suitable for K–12.

Showing 1-8 of 30 books

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Sugar Falls

A Residential School Story

by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson & Donovan Yaciuk, foreword by Murray Sinclair, afterword by Betty Ross
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 15 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
tagged: aboriginal & indigenous, prejudice & racism, historical, canada, own voices

Inspired by true events, this story of strength, family, and culture shares the awe-inspiring resilience of Elder Betty Ross.

Abandoned as a young child, Betsy is adopted into a loving family. A few short years later, at the age of 8, everything changes. Betsy is taken away to a residential school. There she is forced to endure abuse and indignity, …

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Ispík kákí péyakoyak/When We Were Alone

by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett, translated by Alderick Leask
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: k to 2
tagged: native canadian, prejudice & racism, values & virtues, multigenerational, post-confederation (1867-)

A young girl notices things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak Cree and spend so much time with her family? As she asks questions, her grandmother shares her experiences in a residential school, when all of these things were taken away.

W …

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Making a Whole Person (Inuktitut)

by Monica Ittusardjuat, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
edition: Hardcover
also available: Hardcover Hardcover
tagged: cultural heritage

“Before schools were introduced to the Inuit, we were taught by our relatives.”

In this picture book, Monica Ittusardjuat shares how she learned knowledge and skills in a time before being taken to residential school. She describes how children learned through playing games, imitating grown-ups, and observing adults around them.

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Orange Shirt Day

by Orange Shirt Society, edited by Phyllis Webstad & Joan Sorley
edition: Hardcover
tagged: aboriginal & indigenous

Orange Shirt Day is observed annually on September 30th to honour residential school survivors and their families, and to remember those who did not make it. This book explores the historical impact on Indigenous people in order to create champions who will walk a path of reconciliation through Orange Shirt Day, promoting the message that Every Chi …

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Making a Whole Person (English)

Traditional Inuit Education

by Monica Ittusardjuat, illustrated by Yong Ling Kang
edition: Hardcover
  • age: 7 to 9
  • Grade: 2 to 4
tagged: native canadian, cultural heritage, polar regions

“Before schools were introduced to the Inuit, we were taught by our relatives.”

In this picture book, Monica Ittusardjuat shares how she learned knowledge and skills in a time before being taken to residential school. She describes how children learned through playing games, imitating grown-ups, and observing adults around them.

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Reflections from Them Days (English)

A Residential School Memoir from Nunatsiavut

illustrated by Nellie Winters, edited by Erica Oberndorfer
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback
  • age: 11 to 14
  • Grade: 6 to 9
tagged: cultural heritage, native canadian, polar regions

When Nellie Winters was 11 years old, she was sent to attend the Nain Boarding School, a residential school 400 kilometres from her home. In this memoir, she recalls life before residential school, her experiences at the school, and what it was like to come home.

Accompanied by the author’s original illustrations, this moving, often funny memoir s …

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On the Side of the Angels (English)

by Jose Amaujaq Kusugak, illustrated by Hwei Lim
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback
  • age: 12 to 15
  • Grade: 7 to 10
tagged: cultural heritage, native canadian, polar regions

"Then one day a ‘flyable’ took me away from our world through the sky to a dark and desolate place.”

Jose Kusugak had a typical Arctic childhood, growing up playing games, enjoying food caught by hunters, and watching his mother preparing skins. But he was one of the first generation of Inuit children who were taken from their homes and commun …

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The Train

by Jodie Callaghan, illustrated by Georgia Lesley
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 6 to 9
  • Grade: 1 to 4
tagged: prejudice & racism, native canadian, multigenerational

Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their community in Nova Scotia. Ashley sees his sadness, and Uncle tells her of the day years ago when he and the other children from their community were told to board the train before being taken to residential school where their lives were changed forever. They weren't allowed to speak Mi …